Victory Liner pays it forward through foundation
Victory Liner is reputedly the bus company of choice that has been servicing Northern Luzon for the past 70 years.
As a way of giving back to the community, its philanthropic arm, the Doña Marta T. Hernandez Foundation (DMTHF), has been reaching out to more Filipinos.
DMTHF was established in 1997 by the Hernandez children with the help of Mother Esperanza Orejola, the founder of the Franciscans of Our Lady of the Poor (FOLP).
It was named after Doña Marta, wife of Victory Liner’s founder, Don Jose. She was known in her family for her charitable spirit and generous heart.
“When she was still alive, she would give money to those in need, especially seminarians, nuns, and children of employees and relatives,” says DMTHF president Alma Veronica Abcede, “She also supported an orphanage in Guiguinto, Bulacan.”
Mother Esperanza initially led the foundation with Don Jose, joining charitable activities like Christmas gift-giving to children and supporting day care centers, one of which DMTHF helped build to become the Colegio de San Bartolome de Novaliches.
The foundation also donated to the San Carlos Seminary and Bethany House of Orphanage, and financed the education of priests and children.
Buoyed by their grandparents’ love for helping, DMTHF has expanded its activities and now actively supports projects that promote better education, health and entrepreneurship, especially among Filipinos in need in Northern Luzon.
“It is our way of saying thank you to those who have supported us all these years. It is our way of giving back to them. They have helped us reach where we are now. Now, it is our turn to help them.” says Cindy Hernandez, DMTHF vice president of communications.
Abcede says the foundation continues to hold Christmas gift-giving events for poor children and provide cash assistance for the education of priests, nuns and children of Victory Liner employees.
To date, DMTHF has supported a total 929 scholars.
For Hernandez, the foundation’s biggest contribution to society has been in the field of education.
“I am proud of the scholars we have supported yearly since 1997. The youth are a powerful source of change and betterment for our future, so investing in their education is very important to us,” she says.
Aside from financial assistance, DMTHF has undertaken other education-focused projects in Northern Luzon such as distributing slippers and school kits to elementary students; organizing educational tours for students and teachers; initiating feeding programs for malnourished public elementary schoolchildren, and donating refurbished television sets and chairs to public schools.
Last year, DMTHF funded the construction of a classroom in a Cauayan, Isabela public school as part of a project of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), a foundation with more than 260 businesses that help the poor rise above poverty and become self-reliant through programs in education, health, livelihood and the environment.
DMTHF is also a staunch advocate of health.
It has conducted countless medical missions nationwide that gave thousands of poor families’ free medical, dental and optical examination, medicines, vaccines and reading glasses.
Another medical mission on April 24 will give free flu shots to 200 children in Balanga, Bataan.
Volunteers from DMTHF and its partners will also distribute free reading glasses to about 300 residents and free medical checkup to all who will attend.
The foundation also promotes entrepreneurship.
It has conducted livelihood training seminars among Victory Liner employees to help them put up their own business and manage their money.
These would be especially helpful for employees who are about to retire in a few years.
DMTHF projects are not only confined to Northern Luzon.
During national disasters, DMTHF provides relief goods and cash donations to affected communities.
In November 2013, family members and employees from Victory Liner packed 10,000 bags of relief goods for the victims of Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) in Leyte.
DMTHF also provided more than 8,000 relief bags for victims of Tropical Storm “Ondoy” in Bulacan, Pampanga and Pangasinan in 2009 and donated cash to the Diocese of Tagbilaran for the victims of the 2013 earthquake in Bohol.
Last year, DMTHF funded the construction of a multipurpose center in Palo, Leyte.
The center was initially the home of Mother Esperanza but now serves as a shelter for families displaced by Yolanda and workshop where survivors can make furniture for a living.
If Doña Marta were still alive today, she would have been happy to know that her legacy of charity continues through the family.
The Hernandez clan, which has grown to about 100 members, is also contributing its share through volunteerism.
“What’s unique about the foundation is that it’s being run by family members. Volunteers for the projects are mostly from the family,” says Abcede. “We get together to help others.”
“It’s great that whenever we have medical missions or charity projects, we get to see each other. It’s hard to keep in touch because our family is so big, but the projects help us get closer together. Instead of just seeing each other maybe once or twice a year, we see each other more often now,” says Hernandez.
Indeed, Victory Liner’s commitment goes beyond mere transport services.
With the generous spirit of Doña Marta as a guiding force, no wonder the company has survived for 70 years, and will no doubt continue to thrive in the years to come.
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